Last Saturday Todd and I co-presented a webinar with the Institute for HeartMath, a nonprofit research and education organization dedicated to helping people reduce stress, self-regulate emotions and live happy lives.
We talked about the importance of self care for parents and why it's important to practice self love if we really want to share love with our families.
Martyrdom doesn't help anybody. We have to make ourselves a priority if we want to experience joy and teach joy.
And just as important, we need to embrace that our natural set point is joy.
You can experience pain in life, but life is not pain. You can feel sadness or anger in life, but life is not sad or angry.
Of course we have challenging experiences that can result in sadness, anger, or pain, but these are feelings and our body has the ability to process through them and let them go.
We can allow the energy to move through our bodies (emotions are energy in motion - thus the word e-motions) through tears, exercise, body work, talking, writing, drawing (or whatever works for you) and then return to our natural state of being - joy.
Many of us know this on an intuitive level, but it's so great to read scientific research that supports this understanding - from the Institute for HeartMath and/or other organizations that seek to understand our inner workings.
Through research we know that negative emotions are associated with an erratic or disordered heartbeat. Our heart actually gets "out of whack" when we experience heavy or negative feelings - our heart races, we feel stress, we get sick to our stomach…these are the signals that our body is out of alignment.
But when we feel positive emotions such as love, gratitude or appreciation, we have a smooth and natural heart pattern. This is our natural state of being, so our body is in "flow" and functioning optimally.
By far the heart produces the body's most powerful rhythmic electromagnetic field (which can be detected several feet away by sensitive instruments). It's 5,000 times stronger than the brain's electromagnetic field.
So when our heart's field changes (like when we experience different emotions) this registers in the brainwaves of the people around us. In other words, people can "pick up" or "feel" what we are feeling because the heart's field is so powerful.
The emotions we feel have the power to strengthen or weaken our physical survival, and the people around us actually "feel" or sense the inner workings of our heart.
Take care of yourself and let your family "feel" the real you.
Cathy Adams is a certified parenting coach, yoga instructor and mother to three girls.
See more of Cathy's stories here.